School of Mechanical and Systems Engineering

Staff Profile

Roberto Palacin

Rail Systems Group



Senior Research Associate leading the Railway Systems Research Group at NewRail, Roberto has a background in Mechanical Engineering, Design and Railway Systems Engineering. He has been involved in research projects on subjects such as development of innovative railway concepts, innovative intermodal systems, urban transport, intermodality of the European rail network and development of modular concepts for high-speed.

Research interests include mobility and mass-capacity, connectivity,  the development of ergonomic and design-led railway environments and improving railways energy efficiency.

He is currently Principal Investigator (PI)/CO-I for Viajeo Plus (International Coordination for implementation of innovative and efficient urban mobility solutions), OSIRIS (Optimal strategy to innovate and reduce energy consumption in urban rail systems) and MERLIN (Sustainable and intelligent management of energy for smarter railway systems in Europe: an integrated optimisation approach), SafeCap+ (integrated optimal capacity, safety and energy strategies at multiple nodes) and Z_LIM (Predictable and optimised braking: zero slip linear induction motor).

In MERLIN  he is involved in research on developing operational and strategic approaches to improve the energy efficiency of railways. Roberto's input to OSIRIS is related to the definition and development of operational requirements and needs for urban rail systems as well as the integration of technical results and economic assessment for Decision Support. In SafeCap+ he is part of a multidisciplinary team at Newcastle University co-led with Prof Romanovsky (School of Computing Science) aiming to develop real-time network optimisation tools exploring the trade-off between capacity, safe and energy usage. Z_LIM explores the concept of a linear induction motor that instead of using an integrated primary and secondary unit, it separates them using the existing running rails as the secondary placing the primary component attached to the bogie in the fashion of a eddy current brake. This allows for the generation of forces that are independent of the level of adhesion between wheel and rail, effectively providing a zero slip effect. 

Other recent concluded projects include CleanER-D (Clean European Rail Diesel), EBSF (European Bus System of the Future), MODTRAIN (Innovative modular vehicle concepts for an integrated European railway system), HST Connectivity (study on High Speed rail connectivity in northwest Europe) and RAILTEST (Inventory of Railway Test Installations in Europe and Detection of Synergies between them).


Esteem Indicators

Esteem indicators include:

-Evaluator for the European Commission’s FP7 research program (2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014);

-Member of the National Evaluation and Foresight Agency (ANEP), Spain(2006-to date);

-Peer reviewer for Journal of mathematics and computer simulation (2015);

-Peer reviewer for travel behaviour & society Journal (2015);

-Peer reviewer for ImechE Part F: Rail and Rapid Transit Journal (2013); 

-Peer reviewer for European Transport Research Review Journal (2012);

-Peer reviewer for International Journal of Crashworthiness (2009);

-Peer reviewer for the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) books section (2009);

-Peer reviewer for Engineering Structures Journal (2008);

-peer reviewer for the Transport Research Arena-TRA2012 &TRA2014 (2012, 2014)

-Scientific committee member for the International Congress on Rail Technology, 12-14 April, 2010 (Spain);

-Peer reviewer, organising committee member and session chair at the 13th European Conference on Composite Materials (ECCM13), Stockholm (Sweden) 02-05 June 2008

-Expert Member, Working Group on Passenger Intermodality, LINK European Forum (2008)

-Member of the evaluation panel for the CENIT Programme, part of the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI) a Spanish public organisation under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce (2006, 2008).

-Expert Evaluator for the Vienna Technology and Science Fund on the Science for the Creative Industries programme (2006).

-Panel member and speaker at the conference “Beyond Rail”, Brussels, 2006, on the future of high speed rail in Europe;

-Session Chair and speaker at the SAMPLE 2006 Conference, Paris 2006 on the composite materials in transport topic.

-Organising Committee and Speaker at Rail Systems Engineering Conference, Derby (UK),’05



Modules for the 2015-16 academic year:

-MEng Mechanical Engineering Stage 4  "design for human systems interaction" module (MEC8028);

-MSc Rail Freight and Logistics-module leader for "rail environment and energy" (MEC8039)

-RailNewcastle Summer School, "Energy Use For Sustainable Rail" plus project supervision

in previous years:

-MEng Mechanical Engineering Stage 3 project supervision and assessment (MEC3096 & MEC 3098);

-MEng Mechanical Engineering Stage 4  "Enginering tomorrow's railway" module co-supervision and assessment (MEC4006);

-MEng Mechanical Engineering Stage 4  team project supervision and assessment (MEC8099);

-Annual guest lecture  to Supply Chain Management undergraduate students (MKT3011) and Supply Chain postgraduate students (NBS8501);